Perhaps more than most years, 2021 has been filled with an array of business and human rights challenges that were difficult to forecast. Looking forward to 2022, the rapid changes in business and human rights (and ESG more generally) adds a further degree of difficulty to devising a list of the 10 top business and human rights issues for the next calendar year. With that in mind, and in the bold spirit of Human Rights Day, we offer such a list, plus a bonus issue, in no particular order. The list includes some new regulatory obligations, some new rights that have been recognized, some themes from 2021 that will continue into next year, and a few oldies but goodies.
- New Regulatory Obligations: Mandatory Due Diligence
Throughout 2021, the prospect of mandatory corporate human rights due diligence laws being enacted throughout Europe was a dominant theme. The concept of mandatory diligence is a step beyond human rights transparency laws, like the California Supply Chain Transparency Act, or the UK or Australian Modern Slavery acts. Under mandatory diligence laws, companies must undertake affirmative assessments to identify their risks, institute measures to mitigate any negative impacts, assess the effectiveness of their measures, and publicly report on their approaches.